by Robert Wilkinson
Today is the 202nd birthday of one of the greatest novelists of all time, the amazing Charles Dickens.
Social conscience in a land where there were no child labor laws, his works endure to this day as iconic pieces of English literature. His books have never been out of print these past 150 years, no small feat!
To dispel one popular notion, no, he wasn't paid by the word. The reason his books are so elaborate (and very long!) is because they were serials, published monthly as was the popular fashion of the times, and it takes quite a few chapters to develop characters and plot lines adequately.
In junior and senior high school (as they were called back in the stone age!) I had to read at least 3 of his novels. They opened my eyes to the world of Victorian England, dispelling any notion I might have had about 19th century English gentility and civility. They also helped me understand how poverty makes people desperate, and inspired no small amount of compassion in my young mind and heart which has served me well during my time living in vulture capitalist America.
His books are powerful indictments of all that is wrong with industrial capitalism without conscience. Dickens was a literary force majure who helped make our world a better place through arousing the moral indignity of those who hated the sordid conditions wrought by predatory capitalism that ruthlessly exploits children and those who are not strong enough to compete in smashmouth economic conditions.
So here's a toast to a writer who really did change the world for the better! May his works continue to serve as reminders of the folly of believing that vulture capitalists and ruthless greedheads will ever have the people's best interests at heart.
Bless you, Charles Dickens, for walking this Earth and using your words to paint amazing pictures of slices of life not that far removed from our present world 150 years later. These are still “the best of times and the worst of times.” And of course, "God bless us every one...."
© Copyright 2014 Robert Wilkinson
ps - In more than an idle footnote, the big news of history is that 50 years ago today Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band arrived at Idlewild Airport in NYC and Beatlemania was launched on the shores of America!!